So you are wondering “how long does it take to learn Python?”
The quick answer is: it depends.
Everybody has different goals and goes through a different learning path, so the real answer is very different for every student.
So the first question is:
Why are you learning Python? Are you going through a college class? Do you want to learn new tech skills for your current role? Or are you pursuing a new career in data science or web development, for example?
The second point you should consider is:
What is your current skill level? Are you entirely new to Python programming or do you already know some basics?
The third point is:
How much time can you dedicate to learning and practising Python? A few hours once a week? One hour every day? Or maybe you can learn 20 hours a week?
What skill level in Python are you aiming at? Do you want to learn the basics, become a Python developer, or get job-ready for a highly specialized data scientist position?
All these points affect how fast you can learn Python and improve your skills.
If you simply want to learn Python basics, you can see results within a few weeks.
However, if you are pursuing a data scientist career with no previous experience in tech, you can expect it to take 6 to 12 months. That should give you enough time to build enough confidence in your skills and put together a professional portfolio of Python projects.
The good news is:
Python is relatively easy to learn. It reads a lot like English and the syntax is clean and clear.
Plus, you will find tons of free online coding courses, tutorials, and Python YouTube channels for learning at your own pace.
Hence, Python is one of the fastest programming languages to learn for beginners.
To give you a detailed view on how long it takes to learn Python, I put together this beginner’s guide. I’ll walk you through a few key points to help you understand how fast you can see results depending on your starting level and goals.
If you want to know how hard it is to learn Python and how much time you need, you are in the right place.
Let’s get started!
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Table of contents:
In this article, I’ll cover the following common questions about Python programming and how long it takes to learn Python from scratch:
- What is Python?
- What can you use Python for?
- Is Python a popular programming language?
- Is Python a lucrative skill in the job market?
- Is Python difficult to learn?
- How long does it take to learn Python (with no experience)?
- How fast can you learn beginner, advanced, or professional level Python?
- What is the best way to start learning Python?
- How can you learn Python faster? (6 easy tips)
- What common mistakes should you avoid when learning Python?
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What is Python?
If you’re not familiar, Python is a programming language that’s been around since the mid-90s.
In 2008, we saw the release of Python 3.0, the latest major version of the language.
And although many developers and businesses still use Python 2.0, the newer version comes with a few new features, and it’s definitely worth learning and using.
Python is a general-purpose language, meaning you can use it to create a variety of different programs. Thus, it isn’t specialized for any specific type of programming projects.
This versatility along with its beginner-friendliness has made Python one of the most widely-used programming languages worldwide these days.
There are tons of reasons why Python should be your first programming language. It’s fun to learn and you will see progress relatively quickly.
What can you use Python for?
Companies use Python for:
- Data collection and database creation
- Data analysis and science
- Machine learning algorithms
- Artificial intelligence
- Web development
- Scripting and automation
Thus, you can find a plethora of job titles and roles that use Python, such as:
- Web developer
- Software engineer
- Back-end developer
- Data analyst
- Data scientist
- Machine learning engineer
- Artificial intelligence engineer
To learn more about these specializations and what to learn for each of them, read my guide on how to become a Python developer (with no experience).
Is Python a popular programming language?
Yes, Python is one of the most popular programming languages worldwide.
The TIOBE Index currently ranks Python as the #1 most popular programming language worldwide:
Furthermore, the Stack Overflow Developer Survey 2022 ranked Python as the 4th most widely used technology among professional developers:
Also, Python was the #2 top language in the 2021 GitHub State of the Octoverse report:
When it comes to people learning Python and searching for help and answers online, Python is one of the most frequently mentioned languages, too.
For example, Python is the #2 most tagged technology on Stack Overflow.
Is Python a lucrative skill in the job market?
Python is one of the most in-demand programming languages in the job market right now.
According to StackShare, many prominent tech companies use Python, such as:
If you want to start a career in tech, Python is one of the most lucrative programming languages you can learn.
The average Python developer salary is $116,043 annually in the US.
Junior Python developers earn an average of $90,529 annually in the US.
Is Python difficult to learn?
Generally speaking, Python is one of the easiest programming languages for beginners.
It is designed to be quick to learn, understand, and use, and enforces a clean and uniform syntax.
But this doesn’t mean it’s easier to learn computer programming with Python than with any other language out there.
Because the truth is:
Learning to code isn’t just about learning a programming language and becoming really good at it.
Hence, knowing how to write Python code doesn’t mean you are a Python developer.
Instead, becoming good at Python is about understanding the big picture of how coding works and what you can do with it.
Whatever language or project you work with, you need to know how to:
- Define what you want to achieve with your code
- Break down your goal into smaller milestones
- Solve each one efficiently
- Apply these steps across any language
You must learn how to think like a programmer and solve everyday problems.
Once you understand the concept of solving problems programmatically, Python isn’t hard to learn at all. Its syntax is straightforward, and it reads a lot like English.
Having said all that, learning Python can be just as difficult as learning any other language.
It all boils down to how much time and effort you are willing to put in.
How long does it take to learn Python from scratch?
If you are new to Python, the time you need to learn the language depends on your goals.
Not all beginners want to become professional Python developers. But everyone needs to start with the fundamentals and work their way to more challenging topics.
The most important thing to consider is:
How much time can you dedicate to learning Python?
To keep your learning curve going strong, you should spend a minimum of 1–2 hours learning every day.
I know that sounds like a lot. Your schedule is probably busy as it is.
But remember that there are no shortcuts to learning how to code. It requires dedication and determination – and nobody else can do the work for you.
Therefore, you need to practice daily if you want to see results quickly.
Now, how much time does it take to learn Python, then?
Assuming you can dedicate 1–2 hours daily to learning, you will see results rather quickly.
You can learn the basics in just a few weeks, but becoming a professional Python developer takes much longer, of course.
Thus, it all depends on what skill level you’re aiming for. Let’s look at a few different levels to get a better overview of things.
How fast can you learn beginner, advanced, or professional level Python?
Your learning curve is unique and depends on the effort you put into mastering Python programming. Therefore, make sure to avoid comparing your progress to others.
We all need time to understand how the language works and how we can use it to solve problems and build practical projects.
Plus, we all have different goals. You may want to learn the basics of Python or aim at a professional-level skillset to apply for your first Python developer job.
To get an overview of how much time you need to achieve your goals, let’s look at three Python skill levels:
- Beginner-level Python
- Advanced-level Python
- Professional-level Python
1: Beginner-level Python
Beginner-level knowledge of Python is all about familiarizing yourself with how the language works in general.
Hence, this is where you will learn Python syntax and concepts such as:
- Data types
- Classes etc.
So how long does it take to learn Python fundamentals?
On average, you should prepare to spend about 4 to 8 weeks learning beginner-level Python programming.
If you are familiar with another programming language already, you will see progress faster.
But if you are entirely new to coding, make sure you allow yourself to take the time to understand how things really work.
The more time you spend learning and practicing the basics, the easier it will be for you to master more advanced-level concepts in the future.
Therefore, think of Python basics as the foundation for your future learning path. You want to cast a solid foundation for your Python learning journey, so don’t skip ahead at this point.
2: Advanced-level Python
Once you’re familiar with beginner-level basics, it’s time to move on to advanced-level Python skills.
These skills allow you to build real-world Python projects for your portfolio. Step-by-step, you will feel more confident as a developer and ready to apply for full-time Python developer job.
Advanced-level Python skills include:
- Database management (MySQL and MongoDB)
- Web frameworks such as Django and Flask
- Socket programming
- Synchronization techniques and tools etc.
Bear in mind that you may not even need to learn these skills. Depending on what types of projects you wish to build with Python, it might be enough to become really good with just the beginner-level concepts above.
So, how long to learn Python on the advanced level, then?
These skills are highly specific and they relate to the nature of the work you do. Therefore, it’s impossible to say how much time is required to learn advanced-level Python.
Broadly speaking, you could feel comfortable working with advanced-level topics in a matter of 3 to 6 months if you work with them every day.
Hence, if you start working on a project where you need to use a database, you can learn database management fundamentals in just a few days.
But again, you will need several weeks and months to feel confident enough in your skills to plan and finish large-scale projects using advanced-level Python skills.
3: Professional-level Python
Finally, there’s professional-level Python programming. This is the skill level when you feel completely confident in your Python coding skills and ready to apply for a highly specialized Python developer job.
The best way to acquire these skills is to work as a Python developer, completing real-life projects for your employer – or for your clients if you are freelancing.
Professional Python level means that you can:
- Work independently on complex projects
- Solve highly specific problems with your Python programs
- Come up with your own solutions for demanding programming problems
Here are a few points these skills include:
- Advanced data analytics (including the necessary packages and libraries)
- Image processing
- Machine learning (ML) algorithms
- Artificial intelligence etc.
These skills are in high demand on the job market. Mastering them makes you a lucrative candidate for positions requiring highly sophisticated Python abilities.
But how long does it take to learn Python on a professional level?
It’s relatively easy to learn the basics of these skills, but mastering them will take several months or even years.
But what’s great about professional-level skills is that it can pay off, big time. Because a single developer usually specializes in just one or two fields, it’s challenging to find a Python developer with the right skill set.
Therefore, businesses requiring these specific skills are usually prepared to pay more, too. Thus, learning in-demand Python skills is a great way to make sure you get fair compensation for your work.
What is the best way to start learning Python?
Now you’re familiar with the different levels of Python skills. You also know how long it takes to learn Python depending on what level you’re aiming at.
But how can you start learning Python?
Since Python is open-source, you will find plenty of free tutorials and learning resources online.
However, before you can start your first Python course, you need to get set up correctly.
Let’s look at a few things you need to think about:
Step 1: Choose your Python version
The first thing you need to do is to choose the version of Python you will use.
The older version, Python 2, has more extensive libraries, for example.
The latest version, Python 3.10, has some practical new features that will come in handy for your coding projects.
Some online courses and tutorials recommend using Python 2. Yet, most of the classes I’ve taken use Python 3.
Thus, it’s a good idea to find your first Python course before you find and install any version on your computer.
Most course instructors will go through the pros and cons of each version. Also, they will help you choose the right version for that specific course.
For more details, check out this helpful article on Python 2 vs. 3.
Step 2: Download Python
Next, it’s time to actually get Python. Most often, the easiest way is simply to download the right version at Python.org.
Step 3: Choose your code editor
To start writing Python code, you will need to find and install a code editor.
You can choose between dozens of different editors, and it’s usually a good idea to test a few different ones. See which editor feels the easiest to work with for you.
While some code editors are easier to learn for beginners, they may not be the best choice for large-scale Python projects in the long run.
Thus, test a couple of different editors and find the one that you feel comfortable with. Also, bear in mind that you may want to switch to a new code editor later.
If you’re not sure which one to start with, try VS Code. It’s a great text editor I just tried out recently.
VS Code comes with the usual support for a bunch of languages, auto-indentation, syntax highlighting, and much more.
If you haven’t found an editor yet, check out my article with the best text editors for coding and programming!
Step 4: Start learning Python coding
Last but most certainly not least, it’s time to find your first Python course or tutorial.
Depending on how you learn best, you can choose between online courses, Python books, or in-person learning with a mentor.
If you’re not sure which learning method suits you best, I’ve written a helpful article about learning coding from online courses vs. books.
So, what are the best places to learn Python, then?
Here are a few beginner-level Python resources that I’ve tested and fallen in love with:
Python Crash Course (Book)
Python Crash Course was the very first coding book I used to learn programming from scratch a few years ago. If you are entirely new to coding, check it out!
In the first half, you will learn how to use Python and write code with the language the right way.
The second half of the book consists of three practical, real-life Python projects. They’re an excellent way to practice what you learned in the first half.
Also, you will become more comfortable with writing Python code, and finish your first projects for your portfolio.
Learn Python 2 (Codecademy)
The Learn Python 2 course at Codecademy was my first online Python tutorial, and I can’t recommend it enough.
My favorite part?
You can start writing your first lines of Python code right away. The interactivel lessons run directly in your web browser, so you don’t even need to install any tools or software on your computer.
If you want to learn the latest version instead, check out Learn Python 3 on Codecademy, too.
Complete Python Bootcamp (Udemy)
Out of all Python courses on Udemy, the Complete Python Bootcamp is my go-to favorite.
Also, it’s the #1 best-selling Python course on Udemy. With over 1.5 million students so far, you will be joining a massive community of other Python beginners.
Throughout the video tutorials and exercises, you will learn a bunch of valuable skills apart from the basic syntax and other beginner-level topics.
All you need to start the course is an internet connection. There are no other requirements or prerequisites, so this is the perfect place to start learning Python for beginners.
For even more top-notch Python resources, check out my article with the best websites and online courses to learn Python programming from scratch.
YouTube Python channels
YouTube is a fantastic place to start learning Python for free right away.
For a full list, check out my article with the best Python YouTube channels to learn programming from scratch.
You can peruse different YouTube Python channels quickly to find an instructor who you enjoy listening to.
Everyone has a slightly different teaching style, and some instructors are simply a better fit for your personal learning style.
If English isn’t your first language, you can find a ton of Python channels on YouTube in other languages, too.
I recommend starting with Real Python. It’s Dan Bader’s popular YouTube channel where he walks you through Python coding for beginners step by step.
If you want to explore other programming languages and tools, don’t miss my post with the best YouTube channels to learn programming.
Step 5: Build your first Python projects
Depending on the course you choose, you will build your first Python projects during the course already.
The best way to learn any programming language is to use it as much as you can.
You want to apply your Python skills to multiple different projects for practice. That way, you will become better at solving various problems with Python.
If you’re unsure where to start, check out my full list of Python project ideas for beginners!
How can you learn Python faster? 6 smart time management tips
Now that you know where to start learning Python, you’re probably asking:
How much time does it take to learn Python – and how much time should I spend learning daily?
The truth is:
The more time you can dedicate to learning and practicing, the faster you will see results.
Ideally, you will sit down and learn Python every day.
And I don’t mean 10 minutes daily, but more like at least 1 or 2 hours.
Now, that may sound like a lot at first. But speaking from experience, it can often be surprisingly easy to find those two hours for learning every day.
I’m talking about time-consuming things: binging on Netflix and scrolling through social media.
I know we all need some entertainment and social interaction, but it’s all about trade-offs here. Do what you gotta do, but try to prioritize.
If you have a clear goal for learning Python, what’s going to help you achieve it?
Will you scroll through Instagram or review some of your study notes from yesterday?
You want to come up with a realistic weekly learning plan you can follow consistently.
Find a daily time slot you can dedicate to learning. If you are productive in the morning, that’s the perfect time for practice.
If you work better in the evening, that’s perfectly fine, too.
What common mistakes should you avoid when learning Python?
How much time it takes to learn Python depends largely on (1) starting asap and (2) having a clear goal in mind.
When you stay consistent with your learning plan, you will see results.
But based on my own experience, I know there are a few common mistakes beginners struggle with – including myself back in the day.
To help you learn Python faster and more easily, here are a few practical tips you can use to avoid wasting your valuable time:
Tip #1: Don’t rely on external motivation
If you have a friend or a mentor who will help you learn Python, they won’t do the work for you. You need to find your motivation over and over again, day after day. And it needs to come from within, from yourself.
Be aware of why you’re learning Python in the first place. If you’re not sure how to find your “why”, check out these helpful tips to start learning to code the right way.
Tip #2: Don’t learn on weekends only
Planning to learn on weekends is easier said than done. Your family, friends, and hobbies will come between you and your Python lessons, trust me.
Hence, even if you run a busy schedule, don’t think learning Python on 1-2 days per week is enough. You want to get at least some learning done every day, trust me.
When your brain is processing and learning Python daily, you will see results much more quickly.
Tip #3: Don’t waste your time planning to learn Python
This one is self-explanatory. The longer you ponder over whether or not to learn Python, the more time you’re wasting.
If you feel genuinely interested in learning Python, start today!
Tip #4: Don’t try to understand everything
Learning Python is just like learning anything else that’s new to you. You will run into trouble and have tons of questions along the way.
I know how quickly things can feel overwhelming and frustrating, too. The more you learn, the more questions you will have.
Now, of course you want to understand what you’re doing. But try not to get stuck in detail at this point. There will be many questions you can answer later on.
If you feel like you can’t grasp the bigger picture at some point, don’t worry. I was where you are not too long ago. When I felt frustrated and confused, I found help in learning computer science fundamentals for beginners.
Tip #5: Don’t try to learn everything Python can do
Last but not least, make sure you know what you want to do with Python in the long run.
As we discussed above, Python is a flexible programming language you can use in multiple different fields.
Now, each field requires you to learn specific tools and techniques – and that takes time.
Thus, before you start, try to figure out what you want to build with Python in the future. What types of projects do you see yourself working with?
Say you want to become a data scientist, for example. Knowing your specialization beforehand helps you find the right packages, libraries, and frameworks to learn.
Hence, you don’t have to jump back and forth between, say, data science and web development tools when you have a clear long-term goal.
Final thoughts: How long does it take to learn Python?
So, how much time does it take to learn Python? I hope you found some helpful details in this post!
All in all, it doesn’t take too long to learn Python basics and start practicing on your first projects. You can get familiar with the basic syntax and logic in just a few days.
As your skills improve, you will advance to more in-depth levels of Python. These highly specific skills are in high demand in the global tech job market.
Thus, investing in learning a skill you genuinely enjoy working with is a fantastic long-term investment of your time.
If you can find 1to 2 hours to learn Python every day, you can learn the basics in just one month. By then, you should feel familiar with the syntax and writing small Python scripts and programs by yourself.
The bottom line is:
Learning Python is just like learning any other skill.
You need a clear goal that you can break down into smaller milestones. That will help you stay focused on one thing at a time as you progress into more advanced concepts and levels of Python.
The learning process is well worth your time and effort. You are about to open the door to amazing opportunities that can massively increase your career prospects. (With a skill you can learn for 100% free at your own pace!)
To get started with learning Python right now, check out my recommended beginner-level online Python courses and tutorials.
For even more newbie-friendly resources, check out these best YouTube channels to learn Python programming from scratch.
I know you can do this!
P.S. If you liked this post about how long does it take to learn Python, please share it with others! Thanks!